By: Diane Benjamin
Tonight’s meeting: https://www.normal.org/DocumentCenter/View/12612/Council-Packet–PDF
This meeting would have been 10 minutes a few years ago. It won’t be tonight because bloviating is vital when running for re-election, and the ever popular: attack Stan Nord.
The bills still can’t be discussed. The agenda is short, the biggest discussion will be around recycling and paying Midwest Fiber even more money.
Think back. The Town was going to get out of the drop box recycling business. The Town gave Midwest Fiber a truck and their drop boxes. Somehow Normal never managed to get out of the drop box business after that. Citizens of Normal get materials picked up at their homes. The Town mandated apartment buildings must provide recycling for their residents.
The 4 drop off sites around Normal obviously aren’t for Normal. They are for people who don’t have home pick up. Bloomington does home recycling, no drop boxes. So why are the citizens of Normal forced to foot the bill?
Normal budgeted $50,000 a year. Tonight staff wants it increased by $150,000 for a total of $200,000 a year.
A two month extension of the Town’s agreement with Midwest Fiber was on the agenda November 2, 2020. That documentation claims the extension was needed so Normal could talk to Bloomington and the County about paying part of the cost of the drop off boxes.
Tonight’s documentation shows no agreement has been reached with either Bloomington or McLean County. It also says the agreement with Midwest Fiber can be cancelled if no inter-governmental agreement is reached. See PDF page 39 – early termination means the Town would pay a penalty however.
Town staff is recommending this budget amendment because:
Meanwhile, PDF page 55 shows there is no profit in recycling: (See descriptions on PDF page 49)
Private haulers collect garbage in the County. I know mine doesn’t offer recycling pickup. There is no analysis of how much hauling everything to the landfill costs verses paying Midwest Fiber. Why would the County agree to pay anything just because Normal’s staff wants to subsidize recycling? Bloomington provides recycling to their residents, why would they want to pay Normal? Is recycling most items a good idea with little market for what is picked up? With little value, why is it still a good idea?
To keep 80 full time jobs at Midwest Fiber? (see staff recommendation above) [Are your employees subsidized?]
See staff recommendations above again. 4 drop boxes represent 40% of all recycling in Normal? That means the citizens of Normal are forced to subsidize non-residents recycling. Since there isn’t an agreement with Bloomington and McLean County to offset the cost, this is a vanity project for the “professional staff”.
Let’s see how fast that conversation is shut down tonight!
Just in case the market for recycled items picks up, the Town will get a rebate from Midwest Fiber.